Do You Have Marketing Lagniappe?

November 23rd, 2010 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

lagniappephoto © 2008 Lisa Heindel | more info (via: Wylio)
I was introduced to a great new blog called Marketing Lagniappe written by Stan Phelps.  He writes that, “Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) is a creole word meaning “the gift.”  Marketing Lagniappe is about putting your customers first by giving that “little extra” in order to exceed expectations.”

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Years ago, I learned about lagniappe from my wife’s family in Louisiana.  There lagniappe is, hopefully, an everyday event.  Although I have been a marketer for many years I never thought of putting the two items together, until Stan opened my eyes.

Examples are everywhere of companies generating buzz which translates to word of mouth and positive social media mentions.  Stan’s goal is to find 1001 instances of the “little extras” provided by various companies. My goal is to spread the word.

Bigelow Tea – Marketing Lagniappe in Action


Bigelow is one example from the blog of  Marketing Lagniappe.  In the words of one person,  “I opened a new box of Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea and I was surprised to see a different colored label on the tea bag I pulled out. I wondered if I had bought the wrong flavor, but it turns out it was a bonus bag of their “Constant Comment” orange spiced chai tea.  It was a nice surprise and a great chance for me to sample another variety of their tea without having to buy an entire box of a flavor I may or may not like. And the good news is that I liked it.  This is a great example of lagniappe because it surprised and delighted me and it was very relevant. If they had not done that, I probably never would have tried that kind of tea… but now I just might go get a box. So mission accomplished Bigelow; you made a customer happy, turned me on to another one of your products and you are generating word of mouth buzz.”

Stan would be happy to for you to submit your example of Marketing Laniappe here .

The Takeaway

Customers expect you to meet their needs.  If you want them to remain your customers you need to exceed their expectations.

That’s my new mantra.  Over to you. Please comment below.

1.      What examples of Marketing Lagniappe have your experienced?

2.      How did you feel when you were on the receiving end of the lagniappe?

3.      How do you offer lagniappe with your customers?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at)

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  1. bigelowtea says:

    Thanks so much for the mention! We’re pleased that our free sample in-box promotion was so well received.

    Bigelow will be offering free samples in specially marked boxes throughout 2013 so look for them on store shelves.

  2. Hi Rob,
    I offer it all the time which is why my business thrives on word of mouth recommendations. Often times new clients have seen work we completed for friends, checked in with their friends, and then hire us. One of the top accolades we receive is excellent customer service.

  3. Thanks for reminding us to exceed our clients’ expectations. Love the examples listed in the comments, as well as in your post. Here’s what came to mind as I read: my hometown has an abundance of locally-owned eateries. Our favorite Vietnamese restaurant has a special cache – the owner comes around and sits down at the tables, offering genuine friendship to everyone he serves. Has kept us regular customers for twenty years!

  4. Interesting word, never heard it before. However it is so true that doing that little extra makes a HUGE difference.

    There is for instance a chain of supermarkets in Sweden that gives you high bonuses and it’s calculated in a way that is advantageous for the shopper. Consequently shoppers frequently get bonuses, which doesn’t happen when you shop with their competitors whose bonus systems are calcultated in a way that works against the shopper.

  5. I’ve never heard of the term Lagniappe, but I’m glad I know about it now. Product sampling has been around forever and it never fails to please. Costco, as Keyuri mentions, is great at this and more than once I’ve bought the product after the taste test. When I worked for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico many years ago we promoted Puerto Rican rum through sampling parties and over time Bacardi white rum became the best seller in its category. So giving reaps dividends.

  6. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Rob,

    I have also learnt a new word. What a great initiative Stan and Jack have started. My example is my IT guy who I have done a blog post about. I had trouble one Friday night, left him a voicemail and Saturday morning he came around, gave me software for free and fixed the problem. No charge.

    If any problem can be fixed quickly over the phone he does it and will not take money. This is not good business practice in the long term, but what his customers do in return is provide lots of referrals and we would go out of our way to help him.

  7. Exceeding expectations…. I shop at a family owned grocery store chain where their customer service is excellent. I often find myself bagging my own groceries or being expected to “self-checkout” at most of the big chain stores but here, I feel special. They even have associates that will load your groceries into your car.

    I was shopping there during a torrential downpour and one of the associates was standing there dripping wet. Turns out that an elderly couple had “lost” their car. (They were adamant that it had been stolen.) While they remained dry, he searched for their vehicle, located it and then drove it to the door to pick them up. When they both began getting into the back seat, he had to tell them that he wasn’t able to drive them home. 🙂

    • Rob Berman says:


      What a great story. I think you should submit it to Stan Phelps at for inclusion in this list of 1001 Purple Goldfish. The link is in the post or just go to the web site. Tell him the name of the store.


  8. This reminds me of a book I read a few years back called Raving Fans. The idea is very similar. This is funny, but my wife and I go to Rubio’s Fish Tacos on Tuesdays and there’s this girl named Ofelia. From the very beginning she was friendly and always took care of us, giving us a free drink here or extra chips there. One day, I came in by myself during lunch and I told her manager about how amazing Ofelia is. It led to Ofelia getting an assist manager position, which led to me getting a freelance referal. I often throw in free services to my clients when they least expect it. Like paying for their shipping or giving them an extra revision for free. It feels great.

  9. Ok, I consider myself of fair intelligence but have never even heard the word “lagniappe” before! So thanks for teaching me a new word which represents a really good value- add for customer service. You are right, customers do expect you to do your job – going above and beyond goes a long way.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Rob Berman says:


      As Yogi Bear used to say,” I’m smarter than the average bear.” I know that you are. You just don’t hang around Louisiana so you did not soak up the language. Maybe I should organize a road trip for the next time we go there to see my wife’s relatives.

      The project that Stan is running is a really cool one. Keyuri has already submitted a few items (Stan sent me an e-mail).


  10. Stan Phelps says:

    Thanks for the post Rob.

    Really appreciate your help in shining some light on the project. We’re currently at #605 examples on the long road to 1,001 and need all the help we can get.

    Here are a few additional thought starters for your readers:

    Southwest Airlines – Grab you bag . . . it’s on. Southwest doesn’t charge for bags

    TD Bank – TD Bank has a penny arcade in their lobby, a free service to all who want to exchange coins

    Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Free peanuts while you wait and extra fries with your order (lots of them)

    Stew Leonard’s – Buy $100 or more of groceries, the register MOO’s and you get a free ice cream or coffee

    Doubletree Hotels – Complimentary warm chocolate chip cookie when you check-in

    Zappos – Free upgrade of your shipping to next day


  11. Jack Campisi says:

    Hi Rob,
    I’m Jack Campisi, the co-host of Stan Phelps’ Purple Goldfish podcast and the guy who had the Bigelow tea experience. Love your blog. Thanks for the blog post. Keep those examples of Marketing Lagniappe coming. We are over 600 on our way to 1001. Thanks!

    Now excuse me… it’s tea time.

    • Rob Berman says:


      When I was looking for an example I saw you had written the Bigelow one. It seemed appropriate to get you into the action as well. I heard the president of Bigelow speak a couple of months ago. She gets it. Thanks for reading.


  12. Rob, I learned a new word which happens to be an excellent concept for customer service. I loved the Bigelow tea story and was quickly reminded of yesterday’s trip to Costco. They had dozens of “free samples” to entice us customers and it worked! I bought some new and delicious items.
    As for me, when I’m coaching a client who is particularly distressed with an issue, I almost always give away an extra 10 to 15 minutes of time (provided I have it). It comes from my heart, helps my client, and creates a total “win-win”.

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